It seems like yesterday that my husband and I were starting our own search for our very first home. We had an idea of what style we liked (a charming old home with character) and we had envisioned walking in the front door to a full orchestra announcing to us that ‘This is the one!’ Our first home was going to be the only house for us. Our careers would advance and our lives would change, but this house was going to be the one we called ‘Home’ forever. We would have a grand staircase, and a gourmet kitchen with granite countertops, and a big fenced-in backyard for our growing number of dogs. The only problem? Our budget said differently…
We must have walked into dozens of homes. Over time, we began to feel frustrated by our options. They needed so much work! And it wasn’t that we couldn’t do the work (my husband is a skilled carpenter), but we didn’t have the time! We were working 6 days a week, just getting started in the “real-world.” We knew that if we purchased a home that needed updating, we would be living in a construction zone forever.
So one day, we found a house that seemed to fit everything we were looking for! It was gorgeous, we could just imagine moving right in, exactly as it was, and being happy forever!
…Four and a half years later, we outgrew the home and started all over!
So why as first time homebuyers did we think we deserved the perfect, move-in-ready home? We had heard the stories from our parents about their first homes; how they had brown shag carpet and hideous pink wallpaper, and how they took time to turn it into something of their own. But we weren’t going to have to do that! Why? House Hunters told us so!
We didn’t care that we lived in New Jersey, one of the highest priced markets in the United States. We saw young buyers paying $200,000 and getting a brand new Colonial with hardwood floors and marble fireplaces.
Now that I’m a Realtor and work with so many first-time buyers, I see them falling into the same traps! There is so much misconception out there in the media about what is realistic for a first home. But every time, the houses they end up falling in love with all have one thing in common…they appeal to the younger generation with neutral walls, giving off an impression they don’t need a lot of work, and the rooms feel spacious and are decorated in a way that makes them feel instantly at home.
And THAT is STAGING!
“Millennial” homebuyers have become the largest group of buyers in the market today. These buyers are working long hours to make ends meet. Many are at a time in their lives where their families are expanding they want their children to grow up with the same lifestyle they had. They often do not have the time, or the skills, to do home repair or cosmetic updates.
When consulting with my seller clients, we discuss how important it is to ensure the home will appeal to the maximum number of buyers, the “Millennials” making up the majority! The home may be lovely; professionally decorated, maintained extraordinarily well, situated in an ideal location, but we are up against the expectations and dreams these buyers have. By incorporating home staging into the pre-listing preparations, we are bringing professionals that are experts in what changes to a home will bring out its very best qualities. The stager will suggest paint colors, furniture placement, and décor changes that will make the very most out of each room to create bright, open, and neutral spaces that give these buyers a chance to envision themselves there and create that ‘at home’ feeling. What does this mean for the seller? A quicker sale, and a higher price!
Because I see first-hand the benefits of home staging, Teresa and the Home Preppers team are part of every one of my listing presentations. My clients entrust what is in many cases their largest financial asset to me to ensure they get the highest price and smoothest sale they can. Staging is a big part of how we make that happen.
Lauren Hamlin is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Clinton, NJ. She assists her clients with their real estate needs in Hunterdon, Warren, and Morris Counties. In an ever-changing market, Lauren believes in utilizing the most innovative marketing techniques and strategies while maintaining a traditional partnership between agent and client with honesty, integrity, trust, and communication at the forefront. She can be reached at 908-339-7910 (call/text) or firstname.lastname@example.org.